I read a couple stories in the past few days that really left me wanting more…
From WaPo, a story on U.S. government efforts to staunch copyright infringement abroad included this nugget:
The intellectual property industry and law enforcement officials estimate U.S. companies lose as much as $250 billion per year to Internet pirates [...] entertainment and other copyright exports — worth about $626 billion annually, or 6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product — are as important to today’s American economy as autos, steel and coal were to yesterday’s.
A quarter-trillion is an astonishing amount, yet the Post offers nothing to back it up other than “industry and law enforcement” (which is it?) estimates. We all know how trustworthy those can be; about this time last year I noted the MPAA’s propensity for fuzzy math. You’d think the people at the Post would be critical enough to say “that’s almost 40% of your business. How did you arrive at that figure?”
Similarly, I found the most interesting part about the NYT’s story on Google’s Oregon data centers to be not the nature of the construction (or their location), but this:
The fact that Google is behind the data center, referred to locally as Project 02, has been reported in the local press. But many officials in The Dalles, including the city attorney and the city manager, said they could not comment on the project because they signed confidentiality agreements with Google last year.
Doesn’t anyone find it odd that public employees, acting in their official capacities, could be party to confidentiality agreements? How can Google — how can anyone — get away with muzzling administrators via contract? Why doesn’t the Times have time to ask?